Turlock man arrested in drug trafficking investigation dubbed Operation Trifecta Friday morning

On Friday, October 28th, 2022, at 7:00 am, the Turlock Police Department served a warrant at a residence in the 800 block of High St, Turlock, as part of a drug trafficking investigation dubbed “Operation Trifecta.”

Back in July of this year, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office and several other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and task forces launched a joint investigation into the drug trafficking activities of Ernesto Beltran, 41, of Madera.

During the course of the investigation, detectives discovered that Beltran was part of a much larger scale operation out of Mexico responsible for the manufacturing, importing, and distributing of methamphetamines, heroin, and fentanyl throughout the State of California and other neighboring states. Detectives dug deeper into the operation and were able to identify a large group of people who were involved in it, including subdealer Asuncion Quintero, 38, of Turlock.

The investigation revealed that methamphetamines were imported into the United States through various points of entry, in both liquid and solid forms. Once here, the liquid methamphetamine was converted into crystal methamphetamine in what are known as “ice recovery labs.” Once converted, it was distributed throughout the State of California, including Madera and Stanislaus counties.

Beginning Wednesday, October 26th, several search warrants were served throughout the Central Valley, including the one originally mentioned that was served by the Turlock Police Department on Friday, October 28th.

Turlock Police investigators located and seized one pound of methamphetamines, four firearms, and approximately $6,000 in cash at Quintero’s home.

Quintero was arrested and booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on charges of manufacturing methamphetamines, possession of methamphetamines with the intent to sell, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon or person addicted to a narcotic.

A $5,000,000 warrant of arrest was also issued against Quintero out of Madera County for transporting methamphetamines from one county to another noncontiguous county. He will be extradited back to Madera County to face that case after he faces his local one.

“Drug deals do not recognize jurisdictional boundaries when they bring their poison into our communities and we’ve made a commitment to work closely with neighboring law enforcement agencies to dismantle these operations from the top down,” said Turlock Police Investigator Jake Young.

“The Turlock Police Department is proud to participate in the dismantling (of) drug operations with our allied agency partners,” said Turlock Police Chief Jason Hedden. “This type of collaboration demonstrates our commitment to making Turlock and neighboring communities safer through partnerships and networking. Taking these criminals off the street, coupled with the seizure of dangerous narcotics and firearms, is a win for everyone,” he continued.

As of the time of writing this, Operation Trifecta has yielded nearly 30 arrests, seven firearms, more than 1,300 pounds of methamphetamines, eight pounds of heroin, and four pounds of fentanyl. This equates to over 5,000,000 dosage units of methamphetamines, 10,000 dosage units of heroin, and 600,000 potentially fatal doses of fentanyl.

“This is a monumental day for public safety in Madera County,” said Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue. “The arrests made in this case, along with the closure of several processing labs and seizure of substantial amounts of drugs from their operation, will undoubtedly make a significant impact on the safety of the residents of Madera County and the State of California as a whole. We are thankful for the collaboration between our allied agencies to successfully navigate and conclude this investigation. This operation would not have yielded such positive results without the teamwork between (all the involved law enforcement agencies and task forces). This historical investigation should be a compelling indication to all of the relentless efforts we dedicate to taking a standard against drugs, and the criminal activity they provoke,” he continued.

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